Our precious pastor, Johnny Kurchina, wears a clerical collar (Paw Paw did as well, from time to time) and really knows his African Anglican ‘stuff.’ He studied theology in England, but most importantly he knows how to keep the main thing, the main thing. He understands importance of Love & Grace. And the power of Love & Grace.
The past several years God has taught us this over and over. Sometimes it has been a difficult lesson for us. Just when it begins to weigh us down, God sends another powerful affirmation into our lives. We are so grateful for that.
Last night in a dinner conversation we had with our Chinese international student, the importance of the simplicity of the Gospel hit home again. She asked, “what does it really mean to be a Christian because I have heard so many different things. It seems like a bunch of rules and I think they do not celebrate Halloween.” A true Christian will love God with their whole heart and love others as God has unconditionally loved them – the essence of what we told her. Those are the only ‘rules,’ that matter. Everything falls into place if that is the focus. (And yes, some Christians do not celebrate Halloween, in our opinion, because they make it into something it is not. God definitely wants you to have fun and eat candy.)
Today Pastor Johnny drove this point home. Not the eating candy point, but the love & grace point. The Bible speaks of false prophets who do everything they think is ‘right’ and proper: their theology is ‘right,’ they belong to the ‘right’ political and social group, they hold the ‘right’ political and social opinions, they call out those who are not doing things ‘right,’ yet they miss the message of the Gospel. The good news of the Gospel propels one to love God and others, out of gratitude for His love; to show grace & mercy and as a result, abound in the ‘fruit of the spirit,’ love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Wow! I do want more fruit in my life. Some days I may enjoy a couple pieces of fruit…. but, I don’t know if I have ever had a day where my fruit bowl was full. gulp. 🙂
It’s my prayer and wish to grow more and more in grace. I want my life to emulate Christ. I want others to know I’m a Christian by my love, etc. My overwhelming gratitude fuels my wish for a whole lot of fruit.